When I first got an email about joining a panel at the 2023 National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Conference, I honestly thought someone was trying to scam me. 😅
I had to do a quick Google search to verify the whole thing before even thinking of replying. With a slightly skeptical “sure, send me details,” I awaited their response.
I’m so glad I said yes!
Not only I had the chance to share my knowledge about AI, but I got to meet a community of inspiring business women.
Talk about unexpected twists!
NAWBO Conference Overview
NAWBO’s annual conference convenes a thriving community of women business owners to gain inspiration, education, and connections that empower them to new heights.
The 2023 Austin event lived up to this mission through rousing keynotes, enriching workshops, and ample networking spaces facilitating lasting professional relationships and friendships.
With the theme “Power Your Dream,” this year’s conference focused on propelling female founders to turn even their boldest visions into reality through courage, preparation, and embracing innovation.
If you’re in Austin and want to join a network of empowered businesswomen, click here to learn about NAWBO.
AI Panel Addressing Key Integration Questions
Moderated by Melinda Garvey, founder of Austin Women Magazine, the AI panel brought together diverse perspectives to address attendees’ most pressing questions around implementing emerging technologies.
Melinda’s extensive experience spearheading events and discussions focused on female entrepreneurship made her the perfect choice to facilitate insightful dialogue. Her thoughtful moderation style drew out the experts’ most constructive advice.
Our panel featured:
Dao Jensen, Founder of Oak Rocket: With a background in leading prompt engineering teams, Dao lent her technical expertise on AI applications like natural language processing. She provided a wide lens perspective on AI’s benefits beyond business optimization.
Suzi Freeman, CEO and Founder of Teen Warrior Academy: As the leader of a mission-driven nonprofit, Suzi offered a unique angle on easy-to-implement AI solutions for organizations with limited resources. She focused on entry points like conversational interfaces.
Yours truly, Jessica Campos, founder of Marketing for Greatness. I was able to shared story of why I switched from attorney to marketer, and my perspective of how our marketing agency is embracing AI to scale, followed by an invitation to explore my ChatGPT for Business Kit.
Question 1: What’s the #1 challenge that you see AI and other emerging technologies helping to solve for today’s business owners?
From my perspective, AI serves as a tool we can use to heal from anxiety and burnout.
There’s a real flush of joy that comes when you’re playing with AI tools like ChatGPT. Not only you get to think with it, but you feel like you’re playing a game. For heavy tasks like data analysis, having a machine to go over boring spreadsheets for you, and get to “digest” them for you in seconds, is just gold!
Suzi Freeman shared how she uses to get ideas for her messaging and to gather different perspectives so she can communicate with her audience effectively.
Dao inspired the audience to generate better questions, such as: how do I speed up my sales processes with AI so we can build trust with our prospects quicker? She made $8 million as a team of 3, using tools like Fireflies.ai.
Question 2: One of the biggest concerns about AI is that it replaces people resources. How do you balance this for the best of both worlds – relying on the strengths of both AI and your people to meet goals?
Suzi Freeman countered fears about AI eliminating jobs, explaining it tends to create specialized new positions rather than outright replace existing ones, just as photography reinvented rather than replaced painting.
Dao Jensen stressed framing AI collaboration in an empowering way. For example, considering how AI can help salespeople build better customer relationships versus replace them.
I discussed how AI is framed as part of the digital economy. The digital economy has been rising and this isn’t a secret.
The consensus was clear – AI enables transformation rather than destruction.
Question 3: How have AI and other emerging technologies changed your business for the better, and how do you plan to leverage it even more in the future?
Dao emphasized AI solutions that foster employee autonomy by capturing leaders’ contextual knowledge. This allows teams to tap into expertise as needed rather than over-relying on founders.
I shared my process to turn a webinar into a book, fully protected by copyrights, because I am not using AI to generate the strategies. I am prompting it so I can communicate better. Something that I treasure tremendously, since I no longer need to hire contractors to read my content, due to the fact that English is my second language.
Question 4: What do you think is the top tool right now that can be easily and cost-effectively applied?
Jessica Campos highlighted ChatGPT’s immediacy and affordability. Dao Jensen suggested no-code workflow automation tools like Zapier to get started without technical expertise. Suzan shared her love for Grammarly.
Question 5: How can a business owner get ready to take advantage of AI—for instance, making sure her data is accurate, complete and relevant?
Jessica stressed the importance of centralized, well-organized data, comparing it to the structure of a library’s Dewey Decimal system. Dao advised starting with strategic questions to hone the AI approach.
Key Takeaways to Guide AI Adoption
By exploring AI integration through an accessible, solutions-focused lens, the NAWBO panel achieved its goal of equipping attendees to harness emerging technologies to serve their unique business goals.
Some of the key takeaways for female founders looking to leverage AI included:
- Start small and focus on addressing specific pain points with the right AI tools. Prioritize immediacy, affordability, and usability.
- Frame AI collaboratively as an assistant rather than replacement for human roles. Emphasize how AI augments talents like creativity, empathy, and strategic thinking.
- Be proactive with change management and training to smooth workforce transitions as AI alters certain roles and workflows.
- Centralize data and spend time improving its quality before feeding it into AI systems. Their outputs are only as strong as the inputs.
- Create detailed prompts and iteratively refine them based on initial AI results. Provide ample context and examples to “train” tools over time.
- Explore paid ChatGPT to become comfortable. Then progressively expand your integration sophistication.
The NAWBO AI panel made emerging technologies feel within reach, providing a roadmap for female founders to harness AI in ways aligned with their human-centered values and vision.
The Path Forward: AI as an Ally, Not Adversary
Rather than reacting from fear, the experts emphasized cultivating an empowered, solutions-focused mindset where AI acts as an ally, not adversary.
“AI isn’t magic; it’s simply the latest innovation accelerator. And now, it’s finally accessible to women looking to change the world.”
NAWBO aims to democratize access to emerging technology education through ongoing mentorship and training initiatives. Its tight-knit community provides the perfect forum for women entrepreneurs to learn from each other’s AI integration journeys.
By proactively seeking AI knowledge within a supportive ecosystem, female founders can tap these exponential technologies to bring their entrepreneurial dreams to life faster than ever before. The future beckons.